I’m sitting in the Athletic’s club bar whilst my 9-year-old daughter is at training outside in the (nearly) dark. The other kids are at home. I have been wanting to write a bit about what it is really like to be an older mum, but I usually don’t have the time to write. It’s busy. Three kids is busy. Earlier I posted on instagram about the kind of things I have filled my day with, check my insta out to see more about that, I won’t bore you here with it.
I am a mum of three. They are 9, 6 and 8-months. I had my babies at 34, 37 and 43. I am classed, by some, as a ‘geriatric’ mum, an ‘older’ mum, a ‘too old’ mum, an ‘are you crazy’ mum! These labels mean nothing to me, because I know how I feel about being a ‘new’ mummy again in my forties.
I am loving it. I am loving baby number three. And I will tell you why. I am waaaay more relaxed as an older mum. I am calmer, more in tune with myself, happier and I guess I have more experience with 2 kids under my belt. I have let routines pretty much fall into place and I don’t get stressed when my babe won’t sleep, or eat. I guess that comes from experience. I certainly wasn’t like that when I was 34 with our first born. I read too many books, panicked a bit and didn’t feel like I could trust the process.
I now trust the process and this, for me, comes with age, experience and not worrying about what others think of me, of my parenting.
Being an older mum is SUCH a privilege. I really do feel lucky that I have been able to add to our family. I fell pregnant pretty quickly (one hit wonder!) and I gave birth to our little boy at 40+6. The girls were 41-weeks and 41+3-weeks. I’m lucky.
I’m not going to go into the birth story. I haven’t published it and I am not sure I will. It wasn’t an easy birth, and the truth is I am still trying to piece it together. For me though, I focus on the now and I am so utterly chuffed that the baby boy I had back in January 2019, is in our lives.
Not all women have success stories. I run a group on facebook called We are Geriatric Mums and there have been some really sad situations. Mums, pregnant women, want-to-be mums go through so so much and not all of it ends happily.
We are constantly being told of the ‘risks’ of having a baby over the age of 35; gestational diabetes (GD), miscarriage, high blood pressure, birth defects… and others. I was tested for GD, it was negative. I didn’t have high blood pressure. I didn’t have a miscarriage. Was I lucky? I don’t know. My geriatric pregnancy can’t be compared to anyone else’s, can it? It was my pregnancy and my baby. It can’t be compared to a pregnancy at a different time of my life either, can it? All pregnancies are different. But ‘they’ do say that, statistically, the risks are higher when you are an older mum.
Luckily I wasn’t a stat.
Being an older mum is, shock horror, just like being a younger mum, or a 32 year old mum. It is the same. I feel the same. I don’t feel THAT creaky or exhausted or like I am past it. I feel good as an older mum. I think the biggest difference for me this time around is, that I am calmer. I am kinder to myself, too, and as a result I think I am making a better job of being a mummy to a new baby. I kinda know this time around what works for teething (anbesol), I feel like I know what toys my baby likes (anything shiny, wooden spoons and an ugly plastic walker), and I don’t panic if we run out of nappies or if I go out without a pile of baby paraphenalia – I know now that the world won’t end.
I also don’t own a changing bag, I repeat, I don’t own a changing bag! I know, I know. Instead, I have a cool backpack, with zippy pockets and a separate little cool-bag that is designed for bottles. And that is it. As an older mum I recognise that you don’t need all the shit. Don’t get me wrong, I do buy baby stuff, stuff that I find useful. What I don’t do is look like a walking version of a baby store like I did with baby number one and two. I had so much stuff I didn’t use or need, I mean, I had a snot sucker for my first born and never used it.
I’m much more relaxed and as a result I am loving being an older mum. When I first told people I was pregnant at 42, I had a mixed reaction and some of it did hurt. But now, if anyone says “wow you are going to be 47 when he starts school” I think, what a privilege. What an honour. Who cares if the greys will be sprouting and that I could be 20-years older than some of the other mums, perhaps even 25-years older – who cares.
If you are reading this and are thinking of having a baby, or are about to have a baby, or have lost a baby and you are older, my only advice to you is to ignore what other people say. Follow your instinct and believe in yourself. Older mums are NOT too old. I am 43. I had my third baby at 43. And that is ok. I am ok with that. People ask me if I am ‘coping this time around’ – and the answer is yes. People ask me if I am ‘exhausted’ -and the answer is yes, to a degree, but it is NO different to when I had the girls at 34 and 37. Having a new baby is tiring. But that is okay. Motherhood is tiring, but it is wonderful, too.
If you want to connect and ask me anything about being an OLDER MUM, find me on instagram here, I’d love to connect.